The 6 challenges facing sales managers

frédéric vendeuvre Published by Frédéric Vendeuvre – 13 June 2024

Today, sales managers and their sales directors are at the heart of many transformations, with organizations becoming increasingly customer-oriented. Here we list the 6 priorities we feel are urgent and important for many sales organizations.

Diagnosis of organizational sales capabilities

To develop a realistic sales strategy, it is crucial to carry out an exhaustive diagnosis of the organization’s capabilities. This diagnosis must cover the entire sales organization, including account management, new customer acquisition, sales operations and sales enablement. Everything to do with sales efficiency, which has often changed very little, and where all the different players in the company may have totally different perceptions (impact, use, implementation, benchmark…).

The use of advanced sales technologies

Implementing innovative sales technologies is crucial to meeting customer needs and lowering sales costs. According to Gartner, sales technologies such as digital sales demonstrators, predictive recommendations based on buyer activity, analytical tracking of sales reps’ online sales conversations, etc., can significantly improve sales effectiveness and buyer confidence. Managers need to assess the current state of their technology journey and be ready to integrate new technology solutions.

Implementation of KPIs to measure progress

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are indispensable tools for measuring progress towards sales targets. When KPIs are well defined and communicated, they provide actionable information and valuable organizational intelligence. Gartner points out that 40% of sales managers consider accurate, actionable forecasting to be one of their top three internal challenges. The greatest progress lies in the implementation of intermediary competency indicators (monitoring of sales methods, number of interacting contacts, duration of pre-sales qualification sequences, etc.) which have an impact on sales predictions.

Internal collaboration, in particular with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

These relationships are essential to creating a coherent and aligned sales strategy. According to Gartner, 58% of B2B buyers have encountered conflicting information from suppliers, often between websites and salespeople… Similarly, CFOs can make a strong contribution in “value selling”, setting up useful metrics for salespeople. Generally speaking, the penetration of key accounts or strategic accounts implies a highly collaborative sales approach to deal with the complexities of customer organizations and the solutions to be implemented.

Alignment of skills with new sales models and sales assessment

A crucial aspect for sales managers is to implement an effective sales strategy and align their teams with this strategy. A Gartner study reveals that 74% of sales managers (CSOs) have recently updated their salespeople’s skills. The customer approach, sales processes and acquisition strategies require a complete rethink of sales profiles, external recruitment and internal development, as well as a complete rethink of selection methods.

Ongoing training and coaching

For all the reasons mentioned above, a particular challenge is to completely rethink how sales people are integrated and onboarded. There is an ever-increasing amount of complexity to be integrated, while the time and resources to expect optimum efficiency from sales staff are increasingly lacking. Similarly, ongoing training and development of team skills are essential to retain scarce resources and cope with constant change. This includes not only traditional sales skills, but also more advanced ones. For example, training in “AI literacy”, i.e. the literacy of its sales forces so as to orient them towards the most productive AI uses and applications, is becoming an urgent topic.

This is a systemic transformation for many B2B companies, and Halifax Consulting is positioned as an independent prime contractor of technological choices, with numerous use cases to support you. Thanks to its expertise and solutions tailored to each organization, Halifax Consulting is a key partner in this transformation.

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